What are the types of birth injuries?
There are many different types of birth injuries that can be sustained by both mother and baby. See the sections below for more information.
We also have cases where there is negligence in the immediate neonatal period, for example where there has been hypoglycaemia (low glucose due to difficulty feeding) and Kernicterus (jaundice), and brain damage can be caused.
Claims for birth injuries to mothers
Sadly, many birth injuries suffered by mothers are the result of medical negligence during pregnancy. Here list of common complications:
- Perineal tears;
- Ruptured placenta;
- Inadequate stitching;
- Maternal infections;
- Failure to diagnose serious antenatal issues such as pre-eclampsia and obstetric cholestasis;
- Failure to recognise when a baby has stopped growing;
- Problems following caesarean sections;
- Problems following forceps or ventouse delivery;
- Failure to offer amniocentesis and subsequent birth of a downs syndrome child;
- Bladder, bowel or ureter injury (uterine rupture) during a gynaecological procedure.
Birth claims for injuries to baby
Babies can also suffer as a result of insufficient care and even obstetrics malpractice during childbirth.
What physical injuries can babies suffer during birth?
- Cerebral palsy;
- Damage to the brain due to oxygen deprivation, cord prolapse or cord compression;
- Skull fractures;
- Klumpke’s palsy;
- Brain damage;
- Erb’s palsy;
- Undiagnosed infection;
- Shoulder dystocia;
- Negligent interpretation of ctg scans resulting in difficulties;
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (pphn).
Klumpke’s palsy is common when delivering proportionately larger babies that are too large for the birth canal causing the baby to turn their head abnormally from their shoulder. It is therefore important that you attend your antenatal appointments during your pregnancy to monitor the growth of your baby in order to decide whether a Caesarean section would be better suited for you.
If your child has been diagnosed with Klumpke’s palsy chances are that this occurred during the time of delivery and you may be eligible to claim compensation.
Stillbirths can be caused by complications with the placenta, diabetes, high blood pressure, infection or lack of oxygen to the baby. It is important to check regular movements of your baby and to seek medical advice if you notice that your baby’s movement are slowing down or if you can feel no movement at all.
You may have a claim for compensation in the following circumstances:
- If you were not monitored appropriately during your pregnancy;
- A pre-existing history of diabetes or high blood pressure was not monitored appropriately;
- You were not diagnosed and treated for an infection.
How common are birth injuries and obstetrics claims?
According to national statistics, around 30,000 women per year experience birth trauma in the UK. This may not always result in an injury, but can be scenarios where emergency surgery is required due to a low heartbeat from the baby, or equally a medical emergency suffered by the mother.
A birth injury can be caused by a number of factors such as:
- The use of devices such as forceps to aid a difficult birth;
- The baby is born prematurely;
- Delay in delivery;
- The baby is breech;
- The baby is large (usually common with diabetic mothers);
- The mother is overweight;
- The mother’s birth canal is too small.
Failure to administer medical care appropriately can result in medical negligence during pregnancy or medical negligence during birth.
It’s important to seek medical advice at every opportunity during pregnancy. Also, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. It’s the duty of medical professionals to ensure you and your baby endure as little harm as possible during childbirth.